The ANAVET Cup final is headed back to Portage for Game 6 Saturday night. The hometown Terriers hold a 3-2 series lead, thanks to a convincing 6-3 victory Thursday night in La Ronge.
Terriers’ GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller praised his team for rebounding back from two consecutive losses in the unfriendly confines of Mel Hegland Uniplex.
“We got tremendous efforts out of everybody and you know, at the end of the day, like we said last night, it didn’t matter what the score was in that game, it didn’t matter what it was here tonight,” Spiller told CFRY-Radio.
Terriers, who held period leads of 1-0 and 4-2, were led offensively by the two-goal performance of Brendan Harms. Shaq Merasty Stephance Pattyn, Tyler Moore and Andrew Wiebe rounded out the scoring for the Terriers.
Defeating the Ice Wolves 6-3, the Terriers made a statement of their own by bouncing back from Wednesday night’s loss, and showing that a little team re-focus and game plan tweaking, can go a long way.
“I thought we just dug in here together and got the job done,” said Spiller.
The atmosphere of the Mel Hegland Uniplex is known to be a factor in the mental state of the opposing teams, with the energy from the crowd igniting their home team and giving them the advantage; a lesson that the Terriers learned in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the SJHL champions.
“Coming into this place…it’s old time hockey, there’s a real good atmosphere, you know, if you can enjoy it,” Spiller said with a laugh, “but at the same time…to be honest, we’re not coming in expecting…we respect this team and this league too much to think we’re going to come in and sweep a series. So probably, realistically…when it’s all said and done, if we could get one here, we’d be happy to be going home up 3-2.”
Saturday’s game at Portage’s Credit Union Place will not be taken for granted for the hometown Terriers.
“We realize the series still isn’t over,” said Spiller. “And at the end of the game our guys knew that it was a huge, huge win for us. Even if we came up short here tonight, we’re still coming home to our barn and our crowd, so we would have been okay with that too.
“But obviously we’re a lot more exciting to be going home, so now we just need to make sure that we relax here and get some rest, and not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll worry about that come Saturday at 6 when we’re getting ready to go, we’ll deal with what we need to deal with then.”